ELYRIA, Ohio — Bendix and its employees set a new company record for community service in 2019, it was announced on Feb. 5.
Team members across Bendix’s North American locations logged more than 8,600 volunteer hours for dozens of community projects, a level far surpassing the year’s goal to reach 6,000 volunteer hours. The collective effort also outpaced the annual totals for each of the past four years.
Another part of Bendix’s community involvement program was corporate donations totaling $521,000, on top of the $300,000 in grants that was donated by the corporate foundation, Knorr-Bremse Global Care North America, Inc.
The funding went to numerous nonprofit organizations and community initiatives across North America, in the form of grants, donations and sponsorships, in addition to funds and in-kind donations that were raised through employees.
Of the $521,000 contributed, $94,000 was generated through employee initiatives and fundraising campaigns, while close to $141,000 represented Bendix grants from the company’s Get Involved! Program.
Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC. and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, LLC.) is the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management and braking solutions for commercial vehicles. Bendix’s parent company, the Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse, is the world’s preeminent manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles.
“This year’s combination of financial giving and volunteerism reflected a turning point for Bendix’s community involvement program,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “We’re so grateful to our employees for supporting what was a very ambitious year of community involvement for Bendix.”
Gutierrez continued, “In the past, our corporate giving has tended to focus on grants, donations and fundraising. While that remains a big part of what we continue to do, in 2019 we also put more focus on how we could give our time and effort back to our communities. We’ve seen that finding and sponsoring community efforts, and making it easier for employees to participate in them, can be even more meaningful than financial support alone.”
Supporting Dozens of Local Projects
During 2019, Bendix employees contributed their time and effort to some 55 community involvement projects that were sponsored by 14 Bendix locations across North America. Together, 558 unique participants volunteered more than 8,600 hours of their time in 2019, contributing to a 61 percent increase in volunteer hours from 2018.
Bendix corporate-level events spanned a wide variety of areas in support of education, social cohesion, health and the environment. For example, employees at the Bendix Elyria headquarters and the Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility participated in Habitat for Humanity house-builds or community enrichment projects.
In Acuña, Mexico, employees partnered with Casas por Cristo in reconstructing houses damaged by a tornado. Multiple sites held local beach or park cleanup events. Acuña employees also organized the first-ever summer STEM camp at Bendix’s new Industrial Production Lab, where 100 middle school children learned about robotics.
Grant Awards Program
Another component of Bendix’s corporate giving effort is the company’s Get Involved! Program. Through this program, employees can request grant funding from Bendix for local nonprofit organizations or causes they’re currently involved in.
Approved projects receive grants for up to $3,500 to cover material costs. The projects must be completed within six months of acquiring funds; support education, health promotion, or social cohesion; and be near a Bendix location.
In 2019, Bendix awarded grants to 52 projects through the Get Involved! Program. The year’s awards brought the total level of Get Involved! funding disbursed over the last five years to $586,000, in support of 226 projects and engaging 117 employees.
Driving Engagement with an Online Portal
One of the biggest changes to Bendix’s community involvement campaigns in 2019—and one that drove both awareness of and employee participation in these projects—was the new Bendix Cares portal, which was launched in February.
This online access tool, which was designed as a one-stop resource to inform employees and facilitate volunteering opportunities, makes it faster and easier for employees to learn about, schedule, and track their participation in nearby community involvement efforts.
Developed specifically for employees at Bendix’s facilities in Elyria; Acuña; Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Huntington, Indiana, the portal features tailored landing pages that are specific to each location. Employees can search for nearby projects by ZIP code, sign up for corporate community involvement events, log volunteer hours and submit photos.
The portal also helps employees suggest new volunteer opportunities and apply for Bendix Get Involved! grants electronically, instead of submitting printed applications. And once a Get Involved! project is completed, employees can leverage the portal to submit event photos and report on project results internally.
“Employee response to the portal has been overwhelmingly positive,” Gutierrez said. “This tool made the whole process of finding, signing up for, and tracking participation really easy for our employees. Besides that, it has been a significant driver of our volunteer efforts this year, encouraging more people to get involved in their communities and to take on activities that interest them. And, it’s a great showcase of the community-giving projects at each location.”
Continued Progress in 2020
In 2020, Bendix will continue to leverage the Bendix Cares portal to build both awareness and participation in corporate giving opportunities, and to enrich future programs.
“The portal helped to highlight the causes our employees want to support with their time and effort, which is important to us. We’re going to tap into that data to make future community involvement and corporate giving programs even more robust,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez reported that “We also learned that our programs have had just as much of an impact on our people as on our communities. When we ask for feedback about our programs, what we hear most often is that our efforts are demonstrating just how much we care about our communities, which makes our employees very proud to be part of this organization.”
About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, air brake charging and control systems, plus components under the Bendix brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. As an industry pioneer employing more than 3,200 people, Bendix is driven to deliver solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance and overall operating cost.
Contact Bendix at 800-AIR-BRAKE (800-247-2725) or visit www.bendix.com. Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos and other resources at www.knowledge-dock.com. Follow Bendix on Twitter at twitter.com/Bendix_CVS. Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at www.brake-school.com.